Better late than never!

Wanda posted this tale of wheat-free success after gastric sleeve surgery to lose weight. She is finding weight loss success with reduced cravings by removing the appetite stimulant that likely led her down the path of “needing” such a procedure in the first place.

Of course, I hope that, by talking about wheat and experiences like Wanda’s, more people hear this message before they undergo a weight loss procedure . . . needlessly.

For many years, I too tried everything to lose weight, with little or no results. Not one doctor I ever have been to suggested anything other than “calories in/calories out and exercise” and proceeded to keep me on high blood pressure meds, antidepressants, fluid pills, anti-anxiety meds, and learn how to live with arthritis. I also was found to have a Vit D3 deficiency.

There are no words to describe how the extra weight took its toll on my body, mind, and spirit, not to mention the frustration of unanswered questions regarding my obesity and why nothing would work for me.

I just turned 60 and almost a year ago, I was knocking on the door of 300 lbs. I made the decision to have the gastric sleeve surgery because I did not want a foreign object in my body with the chance of something growing to it or having to deal with the side effects. Because I had no insurance coverage, after much research, I went to Mexico to have the surgery, which was a very positive experience.

Today, I have lost almost 70 lbs and no longer take any medications and very rarely see a physician other than my yearly physical. A few months ago, my blood test were all normal, along with my blood pressure.

But, I still deal with the joint pain and have headaches. This past Monday, I stumbled upon the Dr. Oz Show and watched the episode about wheat. I will tell you that because of so many “fads” in the past, I was a little skeptical, but kept an open mind, bought the book and began my research.

Hearing Dr. Davis talk about how wheat affected the brain caught my attention in a big way. I was sold and spent the rest of the day cleaning out my cabinets and frig, the next day several hours at the grocery store reading labels.

My husband is type 2 diabetic and as of Tuesday, we are both wheat/gluten free, our cravings are almost completely gone (mine was on an every 2 hour schedule–yes, I was grazing). I now understand and it is no coincidence that this information has come into our lives at this time.

We are keeping a close watch on my husbands blood sugars so as to notify his physician when the numbers change and hopefully eventually become med-free also.(He is not obese, but wants to lose a few pounds)

I have experienced some withdrawals the past few days but I figure it is better to stop cold turkey rather than hurt. You get so tired of the pain! I actually thought I would miss bread due to it being my best friend for so many years here in the south, but I don’t even think about it or crave it. As a matter of fact, I don’t have actual cravings at all now.

It is because of people like Dr. Davis which gives us hope that not all things are “just in our minds” and we are told to “get over it”.

Thank you Dr. Davis for speaking out. It is a long row to hoe, but one that is so badly needed. Your voice will be heard in more than one way. We are very grateful for your truth and your courage!

The world of bariatric surgery is yet another instance of how an entire industry has developed to accommodate to the perverse health effects of wheat, the appetite-stimulation that develops with exposure to the gliadin protein that binds to the brain’s opiate receptors and triggers appetite. This surgery is NOT benign: Even beyond the initial risk of the procedure itself, which involves measurable mortality (death), there are long-term nutritional deficiencies, weight regain, as well as serious illness and death.

Anyone contemplating such a procedure would be far better served to first ask whether they have been unwittingly exposed to the appetite-stimulating effects of modern wheat that make them helpless consumers of food, at the mercy of a perverse chemical that causes people to gain 100, 200, or more pounds.

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. tracy

    I am living proof of wheat being bad for us! My naturalpath told my husband and my daughter of 6 along with myself that we do not do well on wheat. We took it out of our diet for 3 weeks and it was night to day! No more headaches, bloating, acid reflux, inflamation and itchy red paches all gone! Even other improvements occured shortly after, and the energy levels went up. And we all lost weight especially on the belly!! What i am used to having now in our diet, is organic brown rice pasta, and only brown rice products, even brown rice flour for recipes and cooking. Small changes make a huge difference, i know because i saw the results in our family alone. I wish to tell everyone that removing wheat does really work, unfortunately it is everywhere, so just be carefull to read all labels and ingredients carefully. Finally there is a doctor out there that can spread the truth about wheat in our diets, thank you Dr. Davis and keep up with the newsletters!!

    • Dr. Davis

      Terrific, Tracy!

      Yet the USDA and most (not all) of the dietary community insist that you are the victim of mass hysteria, that no such reactions exist, or that this is just another fad diet, another low-carb diet, or you are just cutting calories–nothing more, nothing less.

      You can begin to appreciate the kind of ignorance, indifference, or opposition we are up against!

  2. Nancy M.

    When I quit wheat (gluten) for good, 6 years ago, I just told myself “poison” each time I saw/smelled bagels or whatever. That broke my desire to eat the stuff right quick.

    • Betsy

      I do the exact same thing. Poison. Of course it is most helpful that my body reacts exactly as though I truly have ingested poison whenever I consume any type of grains. Within hours my waist size increases by no less than 4 inches followed by pain in my entire torso, front and back and bottom, constipation for no less than one week and inflammation which is visible even in my eyelids. I have been experiencing these symptoms since I was 18 years old. I am 50 now, so this is not some type of hysterical reaction I developed because gluten intolerance is the latest fad. I am so grateful to have discovered I was one of the people who cannot tolerate gluten because of this new “fad”. 30 years of suffering with IBS and being treating with untold amounts of drugs and supplements and even surgery to treat my symptoms. All it took was a dietary change. Now I am 50 years old I am also negatively affected by sugar as well. For me sugar = Achy joints and acne. Even rice for me = achy joints and skin rash. I have also discovered that stomach cancer runs in my family. Makes me wonder about the IBS/wheat connection. All this being said I feel so much better now without the grains and sugar that I want to shout it from the rooftops! I absolutely noticed and improvement in my skin so much so that my 28 year old son keeps remarking on how great my skin looks for a 50 yr old. Thank You So Much Dr. Davis for fighting the good fight!!!

      • Dr. Davis

        You are FINALLY liberated from the chokehold of wheat and grains, Betsy, despite being told over and over again to eat MORE of them!

        Welcome to the freedom of wheatlessness!

  3. Annie

    Hi! it’s been 4 months since I stopped eating grains, and I have several improvements of my pain. However, since about 2 weeks, I often feel some dizziness and a little confusion at time. I’m wondering if there’s something wrong with the way I’m eating?

    • Dr. Davis

      Check your blood pressure, Annie.

      Not uncommonly, people experience a drop in blood pressure and do better by 1) hydrating vigorously, and 2) using salt, e.g., sea salt.

      • Annie

        Yes Dr. Davis, I just remember now as I read your answer that a doctor told me few years ago that my blood pressure was very low…. So it makes sens that this could be the reason! I drink about 1.5L of water every day, and I use salt normaly. Should I do more than that? BTW, thank you so much for all you do!

        • Dr. Davis

          That’s a good start, Annie.

          If it doesn’t remedy the issue, then it’s time to consider other factors.

      • Susanne

        Very true. I got to stop taking 2 of my 3 blood pressure medications since eliminating wheat/grains. And I am very thankful for you, Dr. Davis.


  4. One of our biggest challenges though is asking our physician about an alternative to bariatric surgery or any other alternative solution to any disease, mine told me to “go for it”, depends upon their updated knowledge and acceptance of this new found info, and getting an intelligent reply.I have no regrets, but really would have listened to a doc like Dr. Davis.

    I have no problem in changing physicians if I don’t feel comfortable with them. If I feel I am being humored with scripts and fake compassion, I will move on. I don’t want a doc who simply gives me what I want to appease me, I want one with backbone and will communicate in a common sense fashion. Which, brings me to a question.

    How do you find a physician that is educated on the new found info of wheat and its relationship to diseases?

    We are going for my DH’s recheck next week for his diabetes. When I made the appointment, I ask if they were aware of the book Wheat Belly, I was told no. So, I informed them, the nurse, that his BS readings were steadily going down and this needed to be watched so his medication could be adjusted, hopefully to the point of deletion.

    I have even thought about typing up a letter to present to his current one at the appointment this coming Wednesday. He is aware of how I research things, so this will not surprise him. But, I have warned my DH that if he is closed-minded and blows this issue off, I will be hunting again.

    I have searched on line for functional medicine docs, but the majority are chiropractors, which I love, but with DH diabetes and hypothyroidism medications, he needs an MD. Our insurance…another burr under my saddle… does not do well with chiropractors.

    Dr. Davis, what would you suggest as key components of finding a new physician such as yourself or politely educating a current one? If you know any in Texas, please advise.

    • Boundless

      > How do you find a physician that is educated on the new found info of wheat and its relationship to diseases?
      Dr. Davis usually responds with:
      “Find a functional medicine doctor or naturopath who is willing to listen.”

      If an expanded WB web site comes to pass, one useful feature would be a registry of enrolled practitioners, who have been vetted by Dr.D.

      And it’s not just the wheat. One way to assess a physician might be to ask them if they know the difference between NK* and DKA*, and if they have an opinion on people choosing to live in NK.
      * Nutritional Ketosis (what the WB levels of carb intake end up being).
      Diabetic KetoAcidiosis (what many health care providers mistake NK for).

      • Dr. Davis

        Thanks for the capable help, Boundless! You are a gem.

        Having conducted online discussions for years, I have to admit that finding healthcare practitioners who buck the conventional system of a drug or procedure for every ill is tough. It’s been tough for years and still remains tough.

        Word of mouth is still among the best ways. Online rating systems like Angie’s List are getting better, but still suffer from inadequate numbers of reviews. One helpful strategy is to identify just one health advocate–e.g., chiropractor, naturopath, etc., who you trust. Ask that person for referrals or suggestions; they often will know who is like-minded in your area.

        • Thank you both for your reply. The appointment is finished and I am beside myself…due to privacy, I digress from posting details because it entails new dx’s, but will be looking for a doctor who doesn’t say “I don’t care about carbs, I care about starches”….and the same old adage of “everything in moderation”…WTH??????

  5. Becky

    Off topic – Dr. Davis, do you know if wheat can be a factor in premature/precocious puberty? My nearly 8-year-old is being evaluated for this later this week, and I was just curious.

    • Dr. Davis

      While wheat consumption can, via an indirect path, increase estrogen levels, I have not heard of any data relating it to precocious puberty.

      There are, however, other environmental exposures that can at least contribute, such as estrogenic compounds in plastics, dairy, and herbicides.

  6. Ev Barney

    I had a proximal RNY about 12 years ago. I don’t regret it, but that does not mean I’d recommend it. As the good doctors says, there are more things to try first than I knew of at the time. As for results, I was a text book case. I lost ~ 60% of my excess weight, bounced back up just a bit a year out, then started to slowly gain 10 years out, with MORE problems than before with reactive hypoglycemia and poor vitamin absorption. To be fair, those things could be age related and not RNY related, as both issues run strong in my family.

    Now, having cut wheat and gluten, and using other grains more like condiments than food (examples: A tablespoon or so per serving of cooked quinoa in a stir-fry adds a nice taste and texture, same with ‘forbiden rice’ AKA: black rice – and a bit of millet flour as a replacement for wheat flour when coating foods before cooking ads a nice flavor and cooks up well.) I find I get hungry less often, and it’s just hungry, not “oh no my blood sugar is dropping and I’m going to be sick!”

    I aim for under 12 net carbs per meal (four meals a day) – but do have a question. If, for whatever reason, one of these meals does not have much, or any carbs (say, under 3 net) is that okay? The way I’ve deal with it so far is to proceed as if it had. IOW: I still aim for under 12 in my other meals. No saving them for later.

    • James

      Hi Ev,

      Even if you had 0 net carb, you would do fine. Dietary carbs are not necessary at all since the body can make its own glucose out of proteins for example. Fat and proteins are the only macro-nutrients you HAVE TO eat. But carbs from real foods like veggies are just fine, they add varieties in your menu :) Sugary stuff, even fruits, are to minimize completely to avoid excess fructose in particular. In Denmark where I live, there’s this stupid recommendation that you have to eat 6 servings of fruits / day. Imagine if we ate 6 ripe bananas or 6 1/2 cups of grapes EVERY day … hello insulin resistance :/

      On the mIcro-nutrient level, make sure you do eat varied so you get everything we truly need and absorb the minerals, etc, well.


      • Dr. Davis

        Thanks, James! Spot on!

        Note, Ev, that wild animals eat for sustenance and are not overweight. They eat foods that are appropriate for them. Grains are, for the most part, inappropriate for humans.

        • Ev Barney

          Thanks to both James and Dr. Davis.

          As for the grains and pseudo-grains, I don’t eat them because I think i need them so much as I like that little added something. As I said it’s a very small amount. What can I say? I’m a New England Yankee and I had them around when I started this way of eating. .If I find they are a problem, or when I run out or they go bad – well – I’ll reevaluate then ;)

          There are four things I look for that seem to show a problem very quickly:

          Am I unreasonably hungry?
          Am I having any problems with edema? (fat ankles! – but it’s not fat)
          Is that icky rash on my lower legs not continuing to improve?
          Is my blood sugar doing things that don’t make sense given my over-all macro-nutrient?

          Unfortunately, fruit – even one of the ‘better’ fruits (apples) sets off a couple of those bells. I’m finding that harder to face than the grains and other starches. Berries and clementines are still on the menu though, so I take comfort. :D

        • Dan

          Hi Doc,

          The wild animals that eat carbs ARE overweight.

          “Although it does not chew the cud, the hippo enjoys many of the benefits of rumination by having a chambered stomach as its fermentation vat. It would be expected, therefore, to feed on high quality food and this is indeed the case for the short, young grass on which it feeds is higher in proteins and soluble carbohydrates (sugars) than the coarser surrounding grass.”

          THE DIET AND FEEDING HABITS OF HIPPOPOTAMUS AMPHIBIUS, by S.K. Eltringham – Chapter 6, pg 77

          • Ev Barney

            Hippos are BIG, certainly – but what do you mean by overweight? Isn’t that just how they are made by Mommy Nature?

          • Dr. Davis

            Yes, I am guilty of oversimplification. There are indeed occasional species that intentionally gain weight, usually to anticipate seasonal deprivations.

            But there are NO pathologically overweight species that do not represent some adaptation to survival.

          • Boundless

            > But there are NO pathologically overweight species
            > that do not represent some adaptation to survival.

            Unfortunately, there are: domestic pets, especially cats, victims of wheat added to their food (which never had it historically). Our last two cats died of complications from diabetes (years before the WB enlightenment).

            Dogs are at risk too, and I imagine, other pets that are not naturally grain eaters. Check the cans, bags and boxes, folks. You’ll be shocked.

            But agreed, no overweight wild species.

  7. Ev Barney

    I have a diabetic cat – and finding the right food for her is an expensive nightmare! So far, what’s worked best is Wellness Core kibble as a back up, and ‘real food’ for her primary intake: lightly scrambled eggs (I’m told they don’t digest raw whites well) chicken, fish, and occasional other meats. IOW, I give her some of what I’m having! (I do buy her one or two cans of sardines a week) Of course, the dog wants his share too but he’s younger and in better shape. Dogs are also not obligate carnivores like cats. So he get the canine version of Wellness Core with some of the above as a ‘topping.’

    • I only buy grain free for my four cats. I’d eliminate kibble entirely, but a couple of them grew up with it and cannot let it go. While my husband, home all day, cannot stand the begging :)

  8. Dan

    Hello cat enthusiasts:

    Please direction your engine to the following study paper: The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats by Debra L. Zoran, DVM, PhD, DACVIM

    She literally wrote the books on feline obesity diabetes. Grains are even worse for felines than humans.

  9. DeAnna

    Hi Dr. Davis,

    I had some blood work done in August that showed elevated hs-CRP and high lipids. Dr. referred me to a nutritionist . She’s been counseling me and suggested that I give up wheat and lower my carbs. I read your book and did just that. Had my blood work redone in November and I’m really not happy with the results. Just as a side note, I don’t need to loose weight (BMI 22), although I did drop about 3 lbs, my insulin numbers are fine (5) and as far as I know I wasn’t sick when I had the test redrawn.

    Apo B – from 94 to 112
    LDL-P – from 1654 to 2078
    sdLDL-C -from 33 to 40
    %sdLDL-C – from 27 to 31.

    And here’s the whopper – hs-CRP from 3.1 to 8.1

    I’m really stunned by all of this. I have an appointment with my Dr. tomorrow so I’m sure she’ll want to put me on statins. Any thoughts? I’m a bit freaked out by this and don’t want to take a statin.

    I believe in this, but it seemed to make it worse.

    • Dr. Davis

      This looks like the pattern of apo E4, a genetic variant that responds a little differently to this diet than other people. This is not something that should be handled by a nutritionist nor a primary care person, but someone knowledgeable about complex hyperlipidemias, e.g., a lipidologist.

      No “whopper” with the CRP. The rise in CRP can be due to just about anything, from allergy to rash. It likely has nothing to do with the change in diet. This is the essential problem with this non-specific marker: It has been subverted into the employ of the statin drug industry, but this is an absurdity, as it could reflect nothing more than a runny nose.

  10. Well, another doctor visit because he found a lowered testosterone level. This time I went prepared, with a letter explaining why I preferred not to have my husband on statins and printed articles with references for him to read. Of course he didn’t have time to read them at the appointment, but, he did agree to give us three months to change the diet and then check to see what his levels are after that. So I am extreme low carb now with his meals.

    I also found out about dividing the triglycerides by the HDL to get a risk factor for heart disease, (Dr. Davis, is this reliable?) he was 5. So since we can’t get the genetic testing, if it doesn’t come down after three months of strict eating habits…we may have to go with the statin.

    • Dr. Davis

      The triglyceride divided by HDL is a little better than the calculated LDL value, but still a second best after direct lipoprotein testing. Conventional advice says that, if triglyceride/HDL is low, then you are safe. While this tends to be true in a population, it is not necessarily true in an individual.

  11. Daisy

    I had WLS in 2010 and lost 70 pounds, but I needed to lose 45 more but I had stopped losing. I had always been a voracious researcher of nutrition and supplements but had never been able to lose weight until I had the surgery. I had even stayed on Atkins for 2 years and never got below 200. All through my 20s and 30s I tried low-fat – but I just kept gaining and got horribly depressed as a result of the lack of fats. I was a binge eater, too — eating for comfort and emotional reasons. DING! DING! Now, I see that was from grains that I kept in my diet, even though I limited them.

    When my weight loss stalled, I consulted with my doctor’s team of nutritionists and nurses. I had seen many people regain all of their weight and I am determined not to. I became frustrated with the lack of up-to-date knowledge from my doc’s staff. They were giving me the same old song and dance about avoiding fat and eating whole grains. The post-WLS diet my surgeon prescribes is quite low carb, but it allowed – and the nutritionists encouraged – eating grains.

    That’s when I re-read WB. I had purchased the book a while ago, but it took re-reading it to realize what I was doing wrong. My body HATES wheat and grains in any amount. I re-tooled my way of eating and now follow a grain-free, high-fat, low-carb way of eating. My weight is slowly but surely going down! (I am very, very lucky — I can eat fats with no problem. Some WLS patients cannot tolerate lots of fat. I cannot imagine being deprived of vital fat.) In addition to continuing weight loss, I sleep better, my skin is clear, and my mood has improved.

    I wish I had kicked wheat 20 years ago, but better late than never.